I have always appreciated the GOCN Missional Indicators and have found them helpful in several regards. However, Steve Taylor posted some interesting thoughts today about the overly idealistic nature of these indicators...
In 1 sentence, it urges "too many oughts." Click on the indicators of what a missional church will look like and there are so many things one ought to be doing. There are ideals and lofty hopes and plenty of "not yet rhetoric." All of them I love and none of them I disagree with. It's simply that there are so many "oughts."
In contrast, let me quote from Euguene Peterson; God's great love and purposes for us are all worked out in messes in our kitchens and backyards, in storms and sins, blue skies, the daily work and dreams of our common loves. God works with us as we are and not as we should be or think we should be. God deals with us where we are and not where we would like to be. (Christ plays in ten thousand places, 75);
That's not "oughts" but reality. This surely is the meaning of Christmas, that God is found in shit and straw, under oppressive tax regime and mis-spent dreams.
Abstractions and ideals leave my cold. Lofty dreams paralyze me. I'm not sure the gospel is a set of ideals. Rather it is the reality of people, honest in their inadequacies, not trying to be something or someone, but searching, seeking for the unique whisper of what God is doing within their unique set of circumstances. It is concrete practices expressed among real people.